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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Devon Fly Fishing Guide

April 10th, 2014 by petesblog

I spoke to my pal Jim today. We are a month apart in age and after talking through our various aches and pains conversation naturally came on to fishing.

Jim has been a fishing guide for long, long time now but has also taken on gainful employment as brand manager for Vision Fly Fishing. He has worked incredibly hard since taking on the role and the only downside is that it has cut into his fishing time a little. That having been said, as a result of his job he has had offers to fish in some seriously cool places, so there are some big upsides too.

He also said Warren, who he fishes with a lot, has changed his job a fair bit and neither of them are able to hit the river at such short notice as they used to.

We talked a little about how it is fun to fish with a friend, share a rod, some laughs and walk up the river together catching a few fish. Jim had said how he prefers to fish in company. I think part of this is part of how much time we, as guides, spend with someone at our sides and so it sort of becomes second nature and a little weird when we fish on our own.

A quick session of trout fishing before guiding work yesterday

A quick session of trout fishing before guiding work yesterday

I know I like to fish this way with my friends. For me it is just as much as spending time with a good friend as the fish we catch, although the concentration kicks in when we see a big fish rising.

One of the things I have found  over the years, is to switch off from a professional angler/guide to a pleasure angler when I have a day off. A long while back it wasn’t so easy but now I find it very easy and just go with the flow. I like it.

The other thing I have noticed is how much I am enjoying my fishing. It is probably more than I have ever done before. I find I look for any small window to go cast a fly and even yesterday before work I was on the river catching a few trout just to satisfy what seems to becoming an insatiable appetite for this thing we call fly fishing.

It means these quickly snatched hour or two are often alone but I am getting used to it and really enjoying it. The thing I have noticed is that I talk to myself a little when I make a nice cast, stuff a fish or decide on a change of fly. I guess I must be enjoying my own company!

Anyway, off fishing now hoping to catch the grannom hatch.

Pete

Fly Fishing Tution and Guiding in Devon with the Devon School of Fly Fishing

Eat, Sleep, Fish Issue 28

 

Anytime soon?

February 24th, 2014 by petesblog

The daffodils are starting to emerge, the snowdrops are stunning and I saw three large dark olives last week.

I got up this morning and the sky was a little clearer and things feel good.

The countdown to the trout fishing season is just about underway and the rivers are starting to drop. I am probably speaking too soon but it feels like I might even get a go at some grayling this week if things stay as they are.

It is probably a big ask for this to happen but right here, right now I am feeling just the right side of optimistic.

I haven’t cast a fly for grayling since before Christmas and am starting to forget what one looks like. Hopefully this will change soon.

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Emma and I were in Stockbridge at the weekend. The Test still had a big push to it and there were were still sandbags in the doorways of the houses. I’m told by Ed in the Orvis store that it didn’t make it in to the shops or houses but it was close.

We walked along the high street of the town. Although I have visited there many times we weren’t in any sort of rush. When I am usually there I am working or fishing so I am usually buying some last minute flies or meeting someone. This time I wasn’t and although the associations with Stockbridge and fishing are closely interwoven I got the chance to see just how closely from the fish shaped door knockers and weather vanes to the guy walking down the High Street talking rather loudly to a friend about the fishing at Chew and Blagdon. It certainly does pack heavy credentials when it comes to talking about it as a fishing town.

So, it feels almost spring like, I am sorting the grayling bugs and I might even get a chance to use them.

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Pete Tyjas

Devon Fly Fishing

February 18th, 2014 by petesblog

As has been the case a lot recently the rain has played a big part in fishing plans. I spoke to Toby late yesterday and had the “what do you think?” conversation about going fishing today.

The need to get out, cast a fly and stand in a river was too great. Toby was a little burnt out after coming back from a trade show. His ferry docked at stupid o’clock and he’d made the drive home getting in at 5.30am.

He was up for it despite this but a late in the day hit of the refresh button on the webcam had shown a river that had held its level throughout the day despite all the rain had started to rise. The extra 20cm it had put on was enough for it not to be anything close to being fishable and so we decided to knock it on the head.

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 I got up this morning greeted with sun and a feeling that I couldn’t sit in. The urge was too great and having rechecked the webcam I saw the river was falling. My car was packed anyway so I hit the road.

The road by our local dump was flooded. There was a car that had made it through the 2ft of water that had collected in a small dip in the road. The driver had got to the other side but was now standing with the bonnet of the car lifted and was peering inside.

I probably could have driven the 25 yards through it but decided against it. A flooded engine would cut into my fishing time. No, I’ll back up and go the other way.

One thing was for sure. The rain had been heavy during yesterday and into the night. I went through the mentally preparing myself to turn around when I got there  routine but when I first caught sight of the river I knew I’d be able to cast a fly.

Setting up with a super fast sink tip and heavy tube fly I went for it, carefully picking the spots where it was safe to wade and where I thought I could swing my fly.

Paul J called to talk reels. “Guess where I am?” After the expletives from him I finished the call and sent him a picture from my phone so he could see exactly where I was fishing.

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I noticed I’d also got a text from JB who had picked his time well and fished the river Sunday.

I don’t usually carry a phone with me when I am fishing but we were waiting for a delivery of some furniture and I had promised the delivery driver I’d give him directions to our house if he got lost. I’d also told him I was sorry I wouldn’t be there. He might even be a salmon angler and would understand.

It was liberating to be out and the day was more about spey casting practice but you know what? I don’t care one bit.

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Pete Tyjas is a fly fishing guide and instructor

 

Devon Fly Fishing Guide

February 11th, 2014 by petesblog

I hit shuffle, turn the volume up and pull away. “I wanna love ya, love and treat ya right” Bob Marley. Perfect start to the day.

I do a bit of singing along until the song ends and I hear the guitar intro of the Specials “Do Nothing”.

The right song can set the tone and as I pull up to meet Graham in the pub car park I make sure I turn the volume down just a little.

We decide to have a coffee and plan on where to do some bank work. We have both been watching water levels on this stretch of water and they are just below the red area on the EA website.

We park up and get a look at the river. It is pushing but it is not as much as we thought. The water is crystal clear.

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The plan was to cut some of the riverside pathways and some access points too but we rig up our switch rods with the fastest sink tips we can find and heavy, heavy tube flies.

Graham hasn’t fished here yet so I walk him to the top of the water and we walk down to where there is some fishable water (just about) and it is safe to wade.

I watch quietly as he works his fly mending the line as it comes round to the dangle. I watch a few more casts and make my way downstream to find some similar water. I know he’ll find me when he has fished his way down.

I  put another mend into my drift. “love and treat you right” I sing to myself. No one is in danger of hearing my out of tune vocals above the whoosh of the water.

We eat good pasties, seasoned perfectly, and then get the prunning gear out. I notice Graham’s gear is a lot better quality than mine and he makes short work of the thicker branches like some sort of Edward Scissor Hands. I follow up snipping anything he might have missed or bits where I think a net or fly line might get snagged.

We then decide to do a bit more fishing. Wouldn’t you?

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Pete Tyjas

Being there

February 3rd, 2014 by petesblog

Sometimes the odds can be stacked against you. Not always, but sometimes. I kind of like these odds, the longshot that no one wants to even consider.

As we all know the rivers have been stacked heavily against fishing in our little part of the world. When I have had a chance I’ll check a webcam, speak to a friend and just keep my fingers crossed for somehwere I can wet a line.

Josh in action

Josh in action

 

The first road trip of the year was to be to Durham for a day and a bit of fishing but the rain came in and the river rose. It is just one of those things that happen this time of year.

JB rolls one

JB rolls one

Some of the rivers opened for salmon on Saturday and so JB, Josh and I decided we wanted to mark the occassion, more by sheer determination not to be beaten by conditions than anything else.

Needless to say the river was high but running pretty clear and we managed to find a couple of pools that were safe to stand in so we could make a few casts.

JB even had a nice trout take his tube fly as it was on the dangle.

It’s a start and it feels good!

Pete Tyjas Devon Fly Fishing Guide

 

 

Just fishing?

January 20th, 2014 by petesblog

The phone call about the state of the river with Toby has become almost a daily event.

“It looks like it’s dropping” is usually the start of the conversation but a look out of the window gives a clue that the respite may only be a short one and the slightest crack in what may become fishable weather closes as quickly as it opened.

While talking the phone vibrates: a text. It is from Duncan asking how things are looking right now and if we’ll be able to get out soon, he already knew the answer before he texted me. We remain optimistic though. You have to don’t you?

I go back to the vice to tie some flies. I replace some that I have lost but I also like to tinker. I am always thinking about a pattern I tied or used last year, how it worked and if I could make a subtle change it a little to tip the odds a little more in my favour. Plus it is fun.

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RFH calls with a report from the chalkstreams. They have had some big weather there too and although many of the chalkstreams are running crystal clear they are high. Very high.

There is some fishable water though. Jim is in from the Coln and has caught some fish. It is good to hear his report.

Toby calls again and talks about getting on a plane to find some fishable water. He, like many of my friends, are getting desperate. During the conversation I ask Emma if I have been unbearable and she politely says “no, not too bad” with a smile.

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I met with Lewis and Paul at the weekend. We talked about the coming season and how we are looking forward to it. We step out into the rain and play around with the fly rod for a bit and take a look at the river.

It won’t be long now.

Pete Tyjas – Devon Fly Fishing Guide

Issue 25 of Eat, Sleep, Fish is now out Issue 26 will be out first week of Feb

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Distant relations

December 30th, 2013 by petesblog

We had Emma’s younger brother and family for Christmas. Her brother is a serious cyclist. He does some of the legs of the Tour de France, commutes to work on a bike every day and goes on numerous ride outs over distances I consider a long drive.

In some respects it is sort of thing I like to do but replace the bike with a fly rod.

We were talking just before they left about kit. He has a deep knowledge and understanding of bikes, how they are made and what makes an exceptional bike compared to a good one.

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This was an interesting conversation and with top-end bikes being made from graphite we got talking about them and the comparisons between rod and bike production. He talked about the “lay up” of the frame which had my ears pricked up as it is a term many will know is also used in rod production.

As we talked some more resins came up and I thought I’d throw nano resins into the mix. He immediately knew what I was talking about saying how in the nano bike frames they have resins with silica particles that are small enough to flow throw the filaments of the carbon fibre.

Sounds just like some of the rods we have on the market doesn’t it?

I would have been a little naive to think that all this great technology is produced solely for us fly anglers but it was interesting to hear how these applications are used in a wider scale in something someone feels equally as passionate as me, but isn’t fishing. I thought this was cool.

I even mentioned to him about fishing gloves and how I have never really got on with them. He offered to send me a pair that were neoprene, thin and should do the job.

They turned up today and I think he might be right. I can feel the rod when I am wearing them. They are a little longer so they reach up and over my wrist which should stop water getting in and should keep my hands warm on even the coldest of grayling days.

All we need now is some fishable water to try them out!

 

The Vice

December 15th, 2013 by petesblog

I can’t remember enjoying tying flies more than I am right now. There are some really interesting materials to try, and right now, grayling to test them out on.

Sometimes they work, sometimes not. To me, fly tying is the search for perfection when it comes to patterns and having a box of flies that work, not just on a perfect day on the river, but in a variety of situations.

This means I have my “must have” flies but with subtle changes that might suit a particular situation. Thoraxes on nymphs is a great example. I might be doing something completely unrelated to fishing but suddenly think “I wonder if I used this dubbing as a thorax?” and rush up and knock up a couple of prototypes ready to use next time I am out fishing.

Varying weight and size goes without saying. I guess I am sticking with nymphs as they are what I have been fishing a lot of.  Recently, I have made a mental note of how often I snip off a fly in favour of something either lighter or heavier depending on the water in front of me. It is a lot more than I thought it was; it must be something I do subconsciously.

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I tied a few up on a recent trip to fish a new stream that you be able to read about soon and they worked really well. It’s nice when that happens.

We got Issue 24 of Eat, Sleep, Fish out recently. I can’t believe we have been going two years now. If you haven’t seen it I hope you enjoy it!

Eat, Sleep, Fish

 

 

 

Fly Casting

November 11th, 2013 by petesblog

I am lucky enough to have a fly rod in my hand a lot of the time. It is mostly because I am fishing or teaching casting but I also like to make sure my casting is as I want to be and so I’ll pop out for a an hour or so and run through some casting drills.

It usually starts with a simple overhead cast and then I’ll play with a little more distance before bringing in double hauling and then work with carrying line and then often I’ll look at my Speys, paying particular attention to anchor placements. I’ll then spend a good amount of time casting off of my wrong shoulder, left handed casting and then accuracy.

The order often changes but the drills are pretty similar. It does pay dividends in the long run and means I never feel rusty when I pick up a rod if there has been a layoff for any reason, no matter how short.

The accuracy thing is fun and usually ends up with my trying curl the line around the intended target.

Here is the funny thing though. I can stand outside alone or in the company of friends doing some casting and feel totally at ease. When there is a big trout rising, bonefish tailing or a salmon rolling, things change. I am pleased they do mainly because I just get so excited. The adrenaline starts to pump and I often shake. I am happy to admit it and hope it is something that never changes. I am sure I am not alone in experiencing what some people call “buck fever”.

Thankfully I have been able to channel all the excitement in the right direction and managed to get the cast off to where I wanted it when it counted but I have to be honest and felt that there have been some close shaves!

The best was wading some flats in Belize when we spotted some tailing permit. The wind position sucked, there was a stiff wind blowing onto my casting side but I thought the cast out and decided to cast off of my other shoulder and go for it. My heart was pounding as the line went out. The first cast was short of the permit and I quickly lifted the line and cast again. With permit you just have to land the fly as close as you possibly can to where the fish is tailing although the trout angler in me is more cautious and worries that I’ll end up spooking. But with permit it is the rule and so I tried to do just that.

I knew I was in the early stages of buck fever and my casting was speeding a little so instead of two false casts and delivering the line I took the slightly riskier strategy of four false casts to make sure I wasn’t going to bungle things. The cast went out. It was on target. I waited for what seemed like forever for the fly to sink. I slowly stripped and felt the resistance. The permit was on. I’d been trying for one for a number of years but it had at last happened.

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I often think of that moment when I practice my casting and am sure the practice did help but there is nothing like the real thing!

We are fast approaching our second year of Eat, Sleep, Fish and we have just released Issue 23. If you haven’t seen it I hope you enjoy!

Some time soon

October 25th, 2013 by petesblog

It’s too soon to start moaning about the weather so I’ll bite my lip for a bit. It is the same for all of us right now and I doubt I’d be catching fish anywhere. MFD, fingers crossed we’ll get out!

What this unsettled spell has done is to really re-ignite my fly tying. I have been busying myself tying shrimps, tubes and of course grayling bugs. My main worry is that by December my fly boxes will be full to bursting point!

I had a conversation with a pal the other day about tying patterns. Part of me finds it very hard not to deviate a little from a pattern by just making a little change that in my mind, long before I actually try it for real on the river, might make a difference and swing the odds my way. That having been said, one of the patterns I’ve been tying, the Cascade, seems to work just fine as it is and catches salmon just about anywhere so why change it?

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When it comes to grayling bugs I have tweaked a few old style Czech nymph patterns just to see if they’ll come up with the goods.

Issue 23 of Eat, Sleep, Fish is just about finished bar the last few articles. I can’t believe we are fast approaching our second anniversary. It seems to have flown by and I am loving putting it together. It is a real labour of love and the chance to give something back to a pastime that still gives me so much pleasure.

So, it’s back to the vice for me until the rivers drop, one of the best times to be on the river looking for grayling!